Gulf states seek food security in Europe, U.S. after African problems

Reuters - Dec 30, 2013

For years the Gulf states, dependent on imports for 80 to 90 percent of their food, poured cash into buying tens of thousands of hectares of cheap farmland and other agricultural assets in the developing world, mainly Africa. They hoped these investments would give them direct access to big food production bases, insulating them from global swings in food prices. But the reality has proved difficult. Some of the African projects have drawn accusations that Arab investors are grabbing land that should be used to feed local people. Bad security and weak infrastructure have plagued some ventures. Although Gulf companies announced plans to spend billions of dollars, the problems mean many of the projects have not gone ahead, at least not to the point of large-scale food production, said Eckart Woertz, senior research fellow at CIDOB

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